Not all employees work in a team or office environment. In fact, the number of employees who work on their own, away from the traditional office setting, is steadily increasing.
A lone worker is an employee who works without direct or close supervision, often working on their own or without frequent collaboration with other employees. Lone workers may include employees who work at home, who work outside of regular business hours, and who simply work independently without the support of colleagues.
Examples of lone workers can include:
- Construction workers.
- Health and social workers.
- Security guards.
- Real estate agents.
- Delivery and truck drivers.
- HVAC workers.
Working alone can present additional health and safety risks compared to working with a team in a busy office environment. As a result, it is important that employers have policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of lone workers and prevent on-site injuries.
4 tips for keeping lone workers safe
Lone workers can be at a higher risk of physical injuries. One reason for this is that lone workers’ working environments are often unregulated and ever changing. For example, the leading cause of workplace injuries and deaths, depending on industry, can be slips, trips and falls. Without colleagues to help look out for hazards, lone workers can easily miss changes in their environment. As a result, they must be even more cognizant of obstacles in their environment that may cause a slip, trip or fall injury.
Lone workers can also be at a higher risk of developing injuries from machinery and equipment accidents, in which they can become trapped under heavy objects without the means of getting the help they need quickly. They can also be at a higher risk of experiencing workplace violence, whether on the road or in a client’s home.
As an employer of lone workers, your number one priority is to create a culture of safety. You can use the following tips to keep your lone workers safe while they’re on the job:
- Assess and manage the risks — Employers have a legal responsibility to assess and manage the risks faced by their employees, including lone workers. Employers should identify the specific hazards and risks associated with lone working, which may involve working in remote or isolated locations. Employers should then apply their assessment and implement measures to control or eliminate identified risks.
- Develop and communicate clear procedures for emergency situations — Lone workers should have clear instructions on what to do in case of an emergency, such as how to contact help and what actions they need to take to stay safe. Regular training and drills should be conducted to ensure that everyone is familiar with company safety procedures.
- Use technology to stay connected — There are a variety of technologies available that can help lone workers stay connected to their colleagues and employers, such as two-way radios, GPS devices and panic buttons. Employees should always have access to a communication device so that they can easily alert emergency services and their employer when something is wrong. Ideally, employers should have a way to monitor lone worker locations at all times and in real time. This will allow employees to receive immediate assistance if there is an emergency or if they are unresponsive.
- Regularly check in with lone workers — Employers should establish regular check-ins with lone workers to ensure that they are safe and to provide an opportunity for them to raise any concerns or report any issues. Check-ins can be done through phone, video call, messaging apps or other digital tools. These check-ins should be scheduled at regular intervals and should be mandatory for all lone workers.
Work-Fit can help keep your lone workers safe
As an employer of lone workers, you strive to keep your workers safe while they meet goals, projects and clients on their own. Our team of experts at Work-Fit can help support your lone workers with a realistic safety plan that prepares your workers in case of an emergency and in case of accidents.
Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees working fit.